I’ve repeatedly received a question similar to this one:
What is better for Facebook EdgeRank? Text posts, photos or videos?
Regardless of the research available on this topic, it’s a question I hate to answer. Here’s why…
You Just Don’t Get it
The typical person asking me this question is worried about one thing: Reach.
When you understand EdgeRank, you stop worrying about being at its mercy.
What shows up in a user’s News Feed depends on Affinity, Weight and Time.
- Affinity: The user or someone close to them shows a preference for your post or type of content.
- Weight: Comments, likes and shares are good. Negative feedback is bad.
- Time: The longer ago the post was shared, the less likely they’ll see it.
Affinity is going to depend on your specific audience. What do they like? What they like will not be identical to what another Page’s fans like.
And what someone “likes” is measured by Facebook based on actions. Do users click? Do they comment, like or share?
Some post types attract clicks more than others. For example, a photo naturally gets more clicks for Photo Views. And a good status update tends to get more comments.
But if you post fluff, you can also expect to get more negative feedback. And that, of course, isn’t going to help you get into News Feeds.
What does EdgeRank favor, you ask? Well, it depends on what your Fans favor.
In the end, the question is backwards. People are asking, “How can I get into more News Feeds?” when in reality it should be, “How can I post something that my Fans will like?”
The answer isn’t post type…
Focus Should Be on Quality, Not Post Type
A year ago, we all said that Facebook favored photos. So everyone shared photos.
Then the new flavor of the month was text updates. So everyone shared text updates.
The motivating factor in each case: Reach.
You should never let post type drive your content strategy. Your focus should always be on quality, no matter what the post type.
“I’m sharing text updates! Why am I not getting better Reach?!!”
Well, first your priorities are out of whack. You should be monitoring engagement and other actions that lead to your business goals.
Second, it’s quite possible that the content you are sharing sucks. Post type doesn’t fix crappy content.
There Isn’t a Universal Truth
This is the main reason I don’t answer these questions.
What shows up in News Feeds depends on what users like, how they engage with it and time decay. Let’s talk that through…
1. What Do Your Fans Like? What my Fans like is not the same as what your Fans like. My Fans may be from different countries than yours. They may be male instead of female. They may be 25-34 instead of 35-44.
2. What Do Your Fans Engage With? Are they visual? Do they prefer photos? Do they prefer clicking links? Do they like more than comment or are they prone to comment more than like? Not all users behave the same way.
3. What is the Best Time of Day? Time decay is all about finding the best time of day to post. I hope you realize by now that there is no universal best time to post. It depends on your audience and when they are online and willing to consume content.
The bottom line: Monitor your own results. Dig into your Facebook Insights. Do not listen to anyone who claims to have a universal truth.
Your Facebook Fans Aren’t Robots
So simple, but marketers need to be reminded of this.
Let’s please stop making general statements about what works. Your Fans are not robots. They are not trained dogs, waiting to roll over for your text update snack.
Share text updates! Share photos! Use caption contests! Use fill-in-the-blank!
Meh. Just share interesting content. Monitor your results to figure out what works.
Don’t Chase an Algorithm
If you’re chasing EdgeRank, your focus is in the wrong place.
Those who chased Google’s algorithm are now paying for it with Penguin and Panda. Those who just kept producing great content are rising to the top.
If you put yourself at the mercy of an algorithm, you lose the power. What is true today will not be true tomorrow.
EdgeRank could change. Your Fans’ interests and demographics also can change.
Keep producing quality content. Keep monitoring your results. Do that and you’ll rise to the top.
What Do You Think?
I know that many disagree with this. It seems that the majority of Facebook marketing posts these days are all about “solving” EdgeRank. So what do you think?
Let me know in the comments below!3